How could you?

In dysfunctional and abusive relationships, you often see people doing things that hurt someone they do or at least should love. For instance, husbands that beat their wives or parents that sexually abuse their children,. Victims of abuse may start acting like slaves or prisoners that have no ability to fight back because they are used to being overpowered and perceive their enemies as rulers over their lives.

Samson’s supernatural strength was a mechanism God used to show the Israelites that they could break free from the tyranny of the Philistines. When Samson’s wife was given to one of his companions, Samson avenged himself by setting fire to the city’s corn supply. Instead of going after Samson, the Philistines went to the men of Judah and beat them up. “Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us?” (Judges 15:11).

Basically, the men of Judah were saying, how could you? They were blaming Samson for their beating from the Philistines and making it seem as if Samson had no right to stand up to them. Instead of mustering an army and going to war with the Philistines, they gathered together 3000 men to bind Samson and deliver him to their enemies.

Samson’s supernatural strength was not something he got from working out. In fact, it was not even his own strength that enabled him to do what he was able to do. Whenever Samson got into a conflict with the Philistines, he received help from God, he became powerful because God’s spirit came upon him.

It says when the Philistines shouted against Samson, “the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him” (Judges 15:14). The word translated spirit, rûwach, (roo´ – akh) means wind or breath, such as in exhalation. “It is clear that the wind is regarded in Scripture as a fitting emblem of the mighty penetrating power of God. Moreover, the breath is supposed to symbolize not only the deep feelings that are generated within man, such as sorrow and anger; but also kindred feelings in the Divine nature” (7307).

The decision of the men of Judah to bind Samson and hand him over to the Philistines must have caused sorrow and anger in Samson. He was doing God’s will when he stood up to the Philistines and so God helped him to escape before the Philistines got their hands on him. After Samson was free from the ropes the men of Judah used to bind him, it says “he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith” (Judges 15:15). What it doesn’t say is who he killed, the men of Judah or the Philistines?

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